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Thread: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

  1. #41
    jaybar Guest

    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    Hi Greg

    I am a BIG Cardas fan. I use GR Interconnects, NR speaker cable and Golden power cords with my Monitor 30's. I also use Microtwin IC's with my tape deck to good effect. Twinlink speaker cable did not work well in my room. Too much mid bass with Twinlink speaker cable. Because of the concrete construction of my room, it tends to hold on to mid bass, so it was not a good fit. This was before I had Harbeth speakers. I wonder how the Twinlink would work with Harbeth?

    Jay

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    Here is a link to an excellent doc about the technologie behind speaker cables.

    http://www.qed.co.uk/downloads/qed/b...s/genreprt.pdf

    Very helpful to understand what's going on ...

    Thomas

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    I worry that all these fancy cables mentioned, especially the capacitive Kimber designs, will alter the tonal balance of the speakers quite noticably (and measurably)...

    Had AS used a fancy cable "with character" in the speakers' development, then your findings in this thread may have been completely different.

    If 79 strand isn't available outside of the UK, then how about 6A stranded mains cable, which many professionals use (unless I am mistaken). I used it for a while in 4 - 5m runs and had no problem at all. The only thing against it may be the quality/purity of the copper (I used a BICC variant) as suppliers like QED may specify a better quality copper (Cable Talk in the UK did as I recall).

    Just an opinion...

    I'd also say that my HL5's were pretty well immune to the Bi-Wire fad and didn't sound much, if any different to me when used this way. (I always told people that 50% of the "improvement" was increased dealer profit in the extra cable sold, 30% the amp seeing a different load and 20% any audible results from the previous 30%.....)

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    I think i have previously posted about cables, but would like to change my stance. I recently took all the (moderately) expensive cables out of my system and put basic interconnects, mains cables in. I then sat down and listened to several recordings i know very well. I know the parts of each recording which impress me, and i know when i'm listening to a sound i enjoy. I have to say, there was no difference at all between a 200 quid mains lead and a basic one, a 100 quid interconnect and a 5 quid one. I think it is all the placebo effect, and am willing to admit that i have been a victim. I left the cables in place and found that the musical satisfaction i get from listening to my Harbeths is exactly as it was before. Spend your money on components, reposition your speakers, improve your acoustics! I am still listening happily without expensive cables and won't be going back. My ears haven't changed, but my grip on audible reality has.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    How refreshing to read your post, Holden! The placebo effect is far better understood in the medical/scientific fields than it is in audio. I think your observatons are right on the mark. Thanks for expressing them.

    Ned

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    So here's my recommendation - 79 strand speaker cable, or 78 strand if you can't get it, a glass of 30 year old malt, Harbeth speakers, Leben 12 watt vacuum tube amp designed by the genius of Mr. Taku Hyodo, whatever cd player you like and a reality pill. Oh, and Kenny Burrell - midnight blue.

    Steer clear of the cable wizards. Happy New Year.

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    Hi Holden,

    I'll go along with 6 of your 7 recommendations:

    1. 79 Strand speaker cable: probably similar to my stranded 14 gauge copper wire.
    2. 30 year old malt: a good choice.
    3. Harbeth speakers: absolutely.
    4. Leben 12 watt tube amp: I'll stick with my 300 watt Sunfire (and no, I don't listen at high volumes. Tubes put out heat. The Sunfire runs cool and draws 40 watts at idle).
    5. any cd player: ok, if it has a good DAC (I run my old Marantz into a Lavry DA10).
    6. Kenny Burrell: another good choice.

    And, yes, definitely steer clear of cable wizards.

    Ned

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    Quote Originally Posted by holden
    So here's my recommendation - 79 strand speaker cable, or 78 strand if you can't get it, a glass of 30 year old malt, Harbeth speakers, Leben 12 watt vacuum tube amp designed by the genius of Mr. Taku Hyodo, whatever cd player you like and a reality pill. Oh, and Kenny Burrell - midnight blue. Steer clear of the cable wizards.
    Haha I like this recommendation, esp the reality pill. It's a viable way of bringing oneself closer to the music.

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    Hi Ned,

    I have to say, i haven't tried the 78 strand, though given my previous findings, i'm sure it competes with the 79. As for the Leben recommendation, i confess i shouldn't really be posting about amps as it is a horses for courses thing. I would like to try and break down carefully the ingredients of the reality pill though, as i believe any pill should be explained, so other users may consider the potential effects.

    The reality pill contains antidotes/benefits for the following conditions:

    1. Removal of wishful thinking that cable will be a temporarily good substitute for that next component you really want to buy, and you know will improve your system. The component will improve it, but the intermediary cable purchase won't.
    2. Removal of the belief that having that cable will provide your system with an edge over your friend, who has basically the same system.
    3. An opportunity to recoup the money from your previously wasteful cable adventures, and to buy your wife a nice present, and regain some credibility in her eyes, thus enhancing your marriage/relationship. Unfortunately this involves someeone else buying the cable, but hey.......
    4. Removal of the belief that Kenny Burrell needs expensive cable to be Kenny Burrell and that your Harbeths can't deliver Kenny Burrell without it. Same for all other artists.
    5. It can be taken with or without the 30 year old malt, with equally effective results, depending on your disposition to 30 year old malt.
    6. A feeling of relief will be experienced, primarily associated with the fact that that you are no longer a believer of the unscientifically proven cable claims, and that your Harbeths sing regardless.
    Stanley Turrentine is up next.......

    Please feel free to bash me for these opinions about cable, but they are based on my own tests, subjective of course.

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S.
    I
    As for biwire or not biwire terminals, my feeling is that that argument has probably run its course over the past nearly 20 years and arrived at exactly 50% for and 50% against the idea. Future Harbeths will (probably) revert to a single pair, reducing assembly time, cost and contact resistance.
    Alan;
    Having just heard and fallen in love with your HL P3ES speakers, I hope to purchase them in short order. But, I'd just as soon get them with the single pair of terminals, if you are making that production change anytime soon. Any idea when that may happen?
    Best regards,
    -paul-

  11. #51
    Naimeo Guest

    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    Quote Originally Posted by sunshine
    Hi,

    Any Kondo silver speaker cable user here?
    It seems like most Harbeth users are using copper speaker cable. Silver speaker cable users, care to contribute?

    I'd listened to a setup, using full Kondo cables, smooth, sweet, not bright at all and emotions. But not using Harbeth speakers.

    Later..
    I auditioned AnalysisPlus' Big Silver and found it very smooth and "buttery" on my C7 and tonally well balanced. Ironical for a silver cable, it's rolled off on top, so not much "air".

  12. #52
    Naimeo Guest

    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ned Mast
    How refreshing to read your post, Holden! The placebo effect is far better understood in the medical/scientific fields than it is in audio. I think your observatons are right on the mark. Thanks for expressing them.

    Ned
    Sounds like dwelling in exotic cables is frown upon here. I just migrated from a Naim system to a new system a little over a year ago and have tried quite a handful of cables, the difference is there but the only questions are if the difference is improvement and if the price justifies.

    My Harbeth dealer recommends me not to waste money on cables and sold me some Rega Quattro. Coming from over a decade of Naim ownership, I can easily accept his wisdom - explored everything else except the Quatrro & C7 end of the system - until a friend showed up with bunch of Audio Note AN-L and slaughtered the sacred cow!

    The C7ES3 sounds great with the Quattro, but the AN-L just adds another level of details, refinement and fluidity to the music. Unfortunately this is just the start and problem is where does it end with this cable exploration...

  13. #53
    Naimeo Guest

    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    Just a give an alternative to Holden's take here. I just migrated from a Naim system to a little over a year ago and have tried quite a handful of cables, the difference is there but the only questions are if the differences is improvement and if the price justifies.

    My Harbeth dealer recommends me not to waste money on cables and sold me some Rega Quattro. Coming from over a decade of Naim ownership, I can easily accept his wisdom - explored everything else except the Quatrro & C7 end of the system - until a friend showed up with bunch of Audio Note AN-L and slaughtered the sacred cow!

    The C7ES3 sounds great with the Quattro, but the AN-L just adds another level of details, refinement and fluidity to the music. Unfortunately this is just the start and problem is where does it end with this cable exploration...

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    I'd suspect the AN-L is exaggerating some things over others, knowing the range a little as I do. Their cable almost certainly will have been designed with "character" built in to its performance - sorry! Remember, fine details don't care what bit of wire they're travelling along, as long as the wire has the correct specification balance for the job.

    I still seriously suggest the humble stuff available from the likes of Maplin in the UK, The ?3 per metre version of good old QED 79 strand or, at a pinch, the Naim A5 if it's for long runs of, say 10m each. I don't know the current Rega cable, but I don't expect it to sound bad under any conditions, as Rega don't believe in fancy wires either...

    Remember, it's a bit like impedance mismatching from source output to amp input that brings about so many interconnect "differences" and I suspect the same thing happens with amp output to loudspeaker inputs too. Factor in the horrendous loads presented by some speaker designs and I'm not at all surprised at the prevalence of "special" speaker cables that only really work in certain combinations...

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    Quote Originally Posted by DSRANCE
    ...Factor in the horrendous loads presented by some speaker designs and I'm not at all surprised at the prevalence of "special" speaker cables that only really work in certain combinations...
    I think David makes a very important point here. Setting aside the argument of whether cables in general do or don't have a sonic signature, it is conceivable that the more reactive (or erratic) the speaker load presented to the amplifier the more the signature could, conceivably, be audible.

    In the case of Harbeth speakers, I have done my best during the design process of the crossover to study, step by step, the consequence not only of a component change on the acoustic output of the system but also the corresponding change that the amplifier sees in the speakers impedance. Hence, Harbeth speakers as a class have relatively modest load demands on the amp and I would expect then that the sonic signature of exotic cables (if any) would be much less apparent when a decent amp drives Harbeth speakers.

    Perhaps you'd like to see for yourself a screen-cam video of how I simultaneously keep track of the acoustics and impedance?
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  16. #56
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    Default M40 impedance curve

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S.
    I think David makes a very important point here. Setting aside the argument of whether cables in general do or don't have a sonic signature, it is conceivable that the more reactive (or erratic) the speaker load presented to the amplifier the more the signature could, conceivably, be audible.

    In the case of Harbeth speakers, I have done my best during the design process of the crossover to study, step by step, the consequence not only of a component change on the acoustic output of the system but also the corresponding change that the amplifier sees in the speakers impedance. Hence, Harbeth speakers as a class have relatively modest load demands on the amp and I would expect then that the sonic signature of exotic cables (if any) would be much less apparent when a decent amp drives Harbeth speakers.

    Perhaps you'd like to see for yourself a screen-cam video of how I simultaneously keep track of the acoustics and impedance?
    Hello Alan, Since you mentioned change in impedance, is there a chart showing the impedance curve of the M40? I know there was one for the M30 on the old Harbeth site. I am currently shopping for an amplifier for the M40 and this is of special interest to me. Happy Holidays!

  17. #57
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    Default M40 impedance curve

    M40 or M40.1 impedance curve? They are very different. M40.1 has a higher impedance and is much easier to drive?
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  18. #58
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    Default M40 impedance curve

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S.
    M40 or M40.1 impedance curve? They are very different. M40.1 has a higher impedance and is much easier to drive?
    Hi ALan, I am referring to the M40, NOT the M40.1
    BTW, I own both M40 and M30.

  19. #59
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    Default Re: M40 impedance curve

    Please let's move this thread to the correct area of the Harbeth USer Group.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    You are right. One should remember that the best cable is "no" cable. Since this is not possible the next best cable is a cable that has the lowest impact. The Genesis report in my earlier posting was interesting for me because it described at lot about the different designs and the impact. It's good to now that the "skin effect" only appear at much higher frequencies and that a stranded cable is probably better.

    So this 79 strand cable is probably all we need.

    Another advice I have is: Ask your wife! If you have some cables two compare ask her if she hears any difference. I have some MIT Terminator II since about ten years. It was a recommendation for my first Harbeth HL5LE. Some month ago I gave the Kimber 8TC a try. (another recommendation) because I wanted the get rid of the "magic" boxes inside the MITs.
    We did hear at the most a very small difference. Unable to decide what the better cables are.

    Our mens problem is that we are not able to find any peace in mind if we think that there might be something to improve. That is the reason why all this fancy stuff is available. My advice - even for me - is that we should be happy with what we have .... That's hard!

    Another example that woman are without fail. I decided to replace my HL5LE by some Super HL5. We went to a listening test. We listened to the Super HL5. Great - pure Harbeth sound but not that much difference to our HL5LE. Then I saw the M40 - a little bit dusty. We gave it a try. That was the moment my wife had to smile. She said: "If you HAVE to buy new speakers then take these" - we did. We love the M40s.

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